Bad Habit

Tevyn Andrews

Bryan Gattozzi

GSW 1120

14 February 2011

Bad Habit

When students or young adults first go off to college and experience that lifestyle, most would agree that it is a drastic change from their previous lifestyle.  However, many college students would disagree with the fact that they do not get enough sleep. Some might argue that as long as they are getting through the day, getting good grades, and maintaining an exciting social life, then they are getting the correct amount. Yet, those particular students can argue all they want, because the majority of college students aren’t getting enough sleep. They’re sleeping habits have changed along with they’re schedules. Many would agree with the fact that college students seem as if they are always tired, or rearranging the time they’re suppose to be studying with the time they’re out with friends. Getting use to a lifestyle such as this one can be hard to break or fix, this causing one to lose or not get enough sleep. College students are deprived of sleep due to their social life, academic demands, and being use to a lifestyle like this may be a challenging to change.

One reason why college students lack sleep is because the social life of a college student can be demanding to the point where one will replace studying with hanging with friends. The social life on most college campuses begin early in the week. Therefore, if students were to go out in the middle of a school week through the end of the weekend, there is a huge amount of sleep debt taking place.

It seems as if college students are always out and replacing a social life with resting, students lack sleep and seem not to mind it at all. Some would think that sleeping all day and being up all night would allow college students to receive the same amount of sleep like anyone else, the times would just be different but that isn’t the case.  This is explained by Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway, “Give the amount of time they spend completing homework, studying, and pursuing extracurricular activities, it is no wonder that the majority of students in our study reported sleeping fewer hours per night than the 9.25 hours experts suggest they need. On average, the respondents reported getting 6.8 hours of sleep each weeknight. Over one-third (34.6 percent) reported six or fewer hours of sleep each night. Two-thirds indicated that homework or schoolwork often or always keep them from sleeping” (Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway). They’re [Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway] explaining how college student’s extracurricular activities along, with studying and homework are the reason students have reported within the survey less than seven hours of sleep on the weeknights. For example, staying up until three or four in the morning and having to wake up at nine for a class, won’t convince anyone that the student will stay completely awake and take notes like he/she should. That leads to not being prepared for a quiz, test, or midterm, and later down the road that student is left not being able to go out on a certain night because they have to cram the night before and stress themselves out with studying.

Another reason why students lack sleep is because of the stress over the academic demands of the classes, studying, and the over-all college lifestyle will cause one to not

even choose to sleep if they have “more important” things to take care of. For a college student to keep up with studying and going to class everyday, getting, and taking notes, can cause college students to stress over their academics.  Again, Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway clarify that, “Many students reported feeling stressed out, overworked, and sleep deprived. They spoke of the tolls of stress on their mental and physical well-being and on their ability to learn academic material. Ultimately, their comments raise questions about whether a student’s grade point average, frequently used as a marker of student success, is a good indicator of what students are actually learning and accomplishing” (Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway).  This quotes explains that students feel differently throughout the such as stressed out, over-worked and so forth. Students’ grade point averages are also being affected by the lack of sleep one is getting at night. To prove the moodiness of students and differences of grade point averages, David Hoff and Debra Viadero also claims how the lack of sleep greatly affects teens and students. These authors agree and illustrate that, “In the new study, the researchers sought to better understand how lack of sleep affects teenagers’ lives. They asked 3,000 teenagers from six public schools in Rhode Island to report on their sleep habits for two weeks. They found that students who earned mostly C’s, D’s, and F’s got, on average, 25 minutes less sleep a night than A and B students . . . In addition, students getting inadequate sleep were more sleepy, moody, and prone to behavior problems than those who got enough sleep. The average students in the study got seven hours and 20 minutes of sleep each night, nearly two hours less than their bodies needed, according to the researchers. “Undoubtedly,” they write, “adolescents require more than seven hours and

20 minutes of sleep to cope optimally with academic demands, social pressures, driving, and job responsibilities” (Hoff, Viadero). Hoff and Viadero go into detail about the claims the previous authors made, Conner, Jerusha, Pope, and Galloway about how much of a toll sleep deprivation has on an average teen or student in school. Therefore, while students are aware of the fact they are sleep deprived, students continue with this lifestyle and question one’s grade point average and their success in the future. Parents and teachers would say always being on top of studies is excellent. However, replacing one’s studies with rest and sleep seem crazy. Not only students but also numerous amounts of athletes will literally stay up all night long cramming information and try memorizing terms for a certain test. Also, this may work for some students when it comes to not getting a lot of sleep. Yahalom Tali explains how ineffective all-nighters are by saying that, “Colleges are starting to wake up to how sleep deprivation cuts into the academic and athletic performance of their students. All-nighters have become a habit in higher education, but a handful of small new studies help document the consequences. A study at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., indicated what may seem obvious to most: All-nighters are not an effective way to succeed in school” (Tali). To further this explanation, Tali says that studying is essential for any college student and some may depend on pulling all-nighters in order to receive the grade they want in a certain class. However, all-nighters have consequences. College students lack the sleep they need by putting their wants, which would be a specific grade, before their needs, which is sleep. This is one of many reasons why college students have abnormal sleeping habits. Speaking of abnormal sleeping habits, Dement and Vaughan claim in the article Sleep


Debt and the Mortgage Mind, “the feeling of being tired and needing sleep is a basic drive of nature, like hunger . . . once you get food, you eat until you feel full then you stop. Thus, the subjectively responses of hunger and saturation ensure that you fulfill your overall daily requirements in calorie. In essentially the same way, your sleep drive keeps an exact tally of accumulated waking hours” (Dement and Vaughan 500). This explains just like eating when your hungry normally people sleep when they become tired. College students following what is normal and making that a routine can be hard to begin. But trying to catch up on sleep, and trying to break the unhealthy habit of replacing other less important things before sleep such as studying and partying will benefit students in the long run.

A third reason for sleep deprivation among these students is this kind of lifestyle and lack of sleep seems to work for college students everywhere. Not agreeing or saying this is healthy in anyway or saying that it is right, but being basically nocturnal and being okay with it all may cause one to miss important events during the day, miss classes, and not encourage college students to study and get it over and done with during the day. Will this habit go on forever, or for the rest of their lives? What will they do when they have careers that change their schedules completely? Most, if not, all college students wouldn’t think how their sleeping habits will affect them in the long run when they have to travel for jobs, when they begin careers, or even start a family one day, or even their health. Breaking a habit such as this one can be challenging and will be difficult to start off. But sooner or later these college students will have to leave behind their college lifestyle and begin a new one.

One reason why one might disagree is that even though the majority of parents will tell their children this before letting them go off to college, will remind them that their not going there to party, and to keep their grades up. But if college students continue to party, go out, and maintain great grades, then what exactly is the problem? Who needs sleep anyway? Some college students may view this as long as they’re getting by with high grades, so there must be no problem. Everybody lives their own lifestyle in a different way and makes him or herself comfortable with the way they chose to live it. Carskadon is an example along with many other people thinking that adults do not need the correct amount of sleep due to age. She states in the article, When Worlds Collide: Adolescent Need For Sleep Versus Societal Demands, “we [people] initially assumed the amount of sleep required declines with age. This was anioxmatic: the older you are, the less sleep you need” (Carskadon 490). Carskadon is an example of when people automatically assume that the older one becomes the more one can control how often sleep occurs and how much is needed, which happens to be a small amount due to age. This assumption is completely wrong. People will think their lifestyles aren’t a problem. If that means party more, and sleep less then so be it.

However, someone might arguer back and ask, what rule says that people, especially college students have to sleep when it’s dark outside, and be productive during the day? First, adults are nagging college students to focus on this and that, find a good job after a four-year college, and now parents and adults are complaining about the exact amount of sleep students are getting. According to Pat Wolfe, “Parents complain about how difficult it is to get their teens out of bed; teachers say students in early morning

classes seem to be there in body only and frequently nod off. Some experts believe a crisis of sleep deprivation has arisen among today’s adolescents” (Wolfe). This quotes shares a similar opinion with Tali in the sense of sleeping at the wrong time. Wolfe explains that nodding off in class is the beginning of student sleep deprivation and teachers and parents are beginning to notice it, and Yahalom Tali earlier in his quote clarified that all-nighters are not effective. Therefore, performing all-nighters will cause a student to doze off during a class and will become the beginning of sleep deprivation. Sleeping during the day, skipping classes because of the night before, and cramming before every test equals good grades. No problem, right?  Who are people to tell others what is best for them? Especially when it comes to sleep. College students workout a schedule that is best for them and one to best fit their needs. As long as hey are getting good grades and maintaining a healthy sleep pattern there really should not be a problem. However, some college students may get carried away and lose track of how much they sleep and that is when good habits turn into bad ones.

Lastly, lessons will be learned when their sleeping patterns have to change in the future. Yes, go out, party, and have fun. But college students must realize that this will not be they’re lifestyle forever, and things must change in order to be successful. Those are valid points and some do make sense, but only to a college student those points make sense. How is someone going to get good grades by skipping class, and staying up all night. If some do, then how do they accomplish that? Parents and teachers tell students at a young age that they are suppose to study days before and throughout the week before a big test, get a good night sleep, and never forget breakfast in the morning. How does that concept alter with students as they get older. Students become sleep deprived and literally sleep during the day, and stay up all night doing whatever. Whether it is studying or out, college students need to learn better sleeping habits and learn how to make those habits consistent.

Works Cited

Carskadon, Mary. “When Worlds Collide: Adolescents Need Sleep Versus Society

Demands.” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 11th ed. Ed. Behrens, Laurence and Leonard J. Rosen. New York: Pearson, 2011. 497-505. Print

Conner, Jerusha, Denise Pope, and Mollie Galloway. “Success with Less Stress.”

Educational Leadership 67.4 (2009): 54-58. Academic Search Complete.

EBSCO. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

Dement, William C., and Christopher Vaughan. “Sleep Debt and the Mortgaged Min.”            Writing and Reading across the Curriculum. By Laurence Behrens and Leonard J.            Rosen. 11th ed. Boston: Longman, 2011. 497-505. Print.

Hoff, David J., and Debra Viadero. “Findings.” Teacher Magazine 10.5 (1999):

17. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Mar. 2011.

Tali, Yahalom. “Time for students to go to bed.” USA Today n.d.: Academic

Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

Wolfe, Pat. “Advice for the Sleep-Deprived.” Educational Leadership 62.7 (2005):

39-40. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 23 Feb. 2011.


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